Up-and-Coming Nurse Niches
Megan Malugani | Monster Contributing Writer
Although skepticism regarding alternative therapies exists, holistic nursing is a growing specialty, thanks to healthcare consumers’ acceptance of the philosophy that treating the whole person is better than treating just a disease or symptom. Any nurse who embraces the mind/body/spirit connection and empowers patients to participate in their own healing practices holism, says Sonja Simpson, MSN, a certified holistic nurse and president of the American Holistic Nurses Association.
In addition to embracing the holistic philosophy, many nurses become proficient or earn certification or licenses in such healing modalities as therapeutic massage, aromatherapy, imagery, herbology or Reiki that complement Western medicine, Simpson says. While some practitioners work full-time nursing jobs and practice their healing modality on the side, others take positions in holistic wellness centers, spas, health clubs and physicians’ offices.
“Probably a parish nurse’s most important role is helping people understand how faith and health fit together,” says Alvyne Rethemeyer, MSN, director of the International Parish Nurse Resource Center. Parish nurses promote healthful living by educating and counseling parishioners on exercise and nutrition, advocating for community health, helping sick parishioners navigate the medical system, and developing support groups for bereavement, parenting, divorce and other issues.
Most parish nurses are unpaid. The paid ones usually work 20 hours or fewer a week. Nurses interested in this specialty should work with their own churches to get started or investigate whether any local hospitals sponsor parish-nurse outreach programs, she says. “Parish nursing is a beautiful place to be a nurse,” Rethemeyer says. “You’re not taking care of the casualties of life, but trying to help people stay healthy.”